This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

#DigitalSkeptic: The Targeted Web Ad Is a Lie

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Remember the old advertising saw that half the ads anybody runs are a waste -- and it's just anybody's guess which half?

Well, Anne Hunter can explain exactly why that joke is still sadly funny when it comes to the Internet.

"The majority of display ads served today on PCs are not seen," said Hunter, a pro numbers nerd -- specifically, senior vice president for global marketing strategy at ComScore, the Reston, Va., Web data and analytics company.

"We are not talking about engagement or how long people look. That's something else," she said. Rather, it's the ads people can actually view online. "We've measured it, and just over 54% of Web advertising is not being given the opportunity to be seen by human beings."

She is not guessing. Hunter has more than a decade of serious ad-data jujitsu at firms such as AOL (AOL) and now ComScore, where she and Andrea Vollman, senior director for marketing, worked as a part of a team that has created several deep-dive studies into what's what with the missing ad impressions. It's part of a larger effort branded as Validated Campaign Essentials.

After digging through their work and spending and nearly an hour on the phone with them, it's pretty clear there's a whole lot of Web ad dollars bleeding all over the floor.

The Invisible Web Ad
The blinding flash of investor insight Hunter and Vollman reveal is how, even after 15 years of trying, the key organs of the Web advertising body still aren't anywhere close to efficient.

"It's not that technical," Hunter said. "It's ads served in places where simply nobody can see them."

The big, black, value-sucking holes on the Internet turn out to be dumb stuff such as ads on the bottom or top of the pages that nobody scrolls up or down to see, or banners served up in a second or third window that opens behind the page being viewed. Then there are the extended family of traffic bots, automated malware and click-fraud tools that trigger an ad in the process.

"There are things like cross-domain, nested iFrames" that are even more complex. That's when one ad or video is served in a small window inside one Web page, but imported from another domain. "That can eat up impressions as well."
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $94.43 -0.79%
FB $117.91 0.41%
GOOG $695.09 0.39%
TSLA $232.01 -0.13%
YHOO $35.92 -0.25%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,712.42 -38.49 -0.22%
S&P 500 2,056.97 -6.40 -0.31%
NASDAQ 4,748.1640 -15.06 -0.32%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs